Goods vehicle operator licensing: licence applications
If you drive goods vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, which carry goods as part of a trade or business, you need to have a goods vehicle operator's licence.
This also applies to light goods vehicles between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes which are used to carry goods in the EU.
Types of operator licence
Restricted licences are for those who carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business. This licence covers all transport operations in the UK and the EU.
Standard (national) licence
Standard (national) licences are for those who carry their own goods or materials for their trade or business and/ or carry goods for hire or reward. This licence covers all transport operations in the UK.
Someone in, or employed by, the company must hold a transport manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification.
Standard (international) licence
Standard (international) licences are the same as standard (national) licences except they cover transport operations throughout Europe.
Standard (international) licence for light goods vehicles
Standard (international) licences are also needed for those who use light goods vehicles between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes to carry goods for hire or reward within the European Union.
Cost of a licence
If you apply for a new licence, or a (publishable) change to an existing licence, you must pay a one-off £254.00 application fee.
If your licence application is successful, you will then have to pay a licensing fee of £449.00 which covers a period of five years. A fee of £449.00 is also payable at the end of the five year period if you wish to continue your existing licence.
If you need an interim licence or direction, this will cost £68.00.
All fees are non-refundable.
Vehicle operator licensing
To get a restricted licence you will have to satisfy standards of fitness and finances.
For a standard licence you must show good repute, financial standing, establishment and professional competence. You must also advertise your operating centres, meet environmental standards and agree to a number of activities and conditions.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) aim to process applications and get a decision to you within 40 days if you apply online, but it can take longer.
Apply for a new licence
Use the Vehicle Operator Licensing (VOL) service to apply for a licence or an interim licence:
- Apply for a vehicle operator licence
- How to apply for a goods vehicle operator's licence (YouTube)
- Rules for a goods vehicle operator licence
Make changes to an existing licence
You can also use the VOL service to check, change (vary) or update your goods vehicle operator’s licence. If you've used the self-service before, sign in using the same details.
- Manage your goods vehicle operator's licence
- How to apply to change your goods vehicle operator's licence (YouTube)
For urgent queries contact the DfI central licensing office:
- email: NICLO@dvsa.gov.uk
Give details of your query and a contact telephone number.
Where an operator cannot use email, for any reason, they should contact nidirect:
- phone: 0300 200 7831
Renew your licence
If you wish to continue your existing licence at the end of the five year period you’ll have to fill in a licence checklist rather than a full application and pay the fee by the date your licence expires or you will no longer hold a valid licence.
Contact the DfI central licensing office at least two weeks before the expiry date of your licence if you have not received the licence checklist or been asked to pay the fee.
Forms and guidance
Other goods vehicle operator’s licence forms and guidance are at:
By law, the DfI must be satisfied that goods vehicle operators have enough financial resources to run their businesses and maintain their vehicles properly.
From 1 January 2021 the financial standing rules for standard national and international goods vehicle operator licences are as follows:
Standard operator’s licence
|Each additional vehicle||£4,500|
Restricted operator’s licence
The rates of finance needed to support a restricted licence are set by the DfI.
The financial levels for restricted licence holders will stay the same for 2021.
|Each additional vehicle||£1,700|
Financial standing for light goods vehicles used in the EU
From 21 May 2022, if you drive light goods vehicles for hire and reward in the EU you will need a goods vehicle standard international operator’s licence.
The financial standing rules for standard international goods vehicle operator licences for light goods vehicles are as follows.
|Each additional vehicle||£800|
Vehicle operator licensing system
Once you have identified the type of licence you need you can use the VOL system to apply for and make changes to your operator’s licence.
Operators and new applicants can use the system to:
- change details (for example safety inspection provider)
- add, update or remove transport managers
- export vehicle data
- fill in application online (then print, sign and post)
- receive help and support with completing application
- wait less time for complete application decisions
- upload documents online, including bank statements
Browsers needed for using VOL
To use the VOL service you'll need to have a modern and secure browser installed to access the new services and to make sure that DfI can protect your data.
Find help for updating your browser at:
Before you start
- a debit or credit card to pay any fees
- your username and password if you’ve used the service before
How the DfI will use your personal data for the administration of goods vehicle operator licensing - privacy notice
Once your application has been processed you will be sent a letter with your reference number and asking you for any additional information that may be needed.
You must not drive a vehicle until you have a licence. If necessary you can apply to the DfI for an interim licence, which may be awarded.
Make an objection, complaint or representation
If you wish to make an objection, complaint or representation about an existing goods vehicle operator licence holder or a current application you can do so using the guide below.
For more information about operator licensing rules:
- telephone: 0300 200 7831
More useful links
- Practice Guidance and Instructions for Goods Vehicle Operators
- Goods Vehicle Legislation, Policy and EU Readiness
- Goods Vehicle Operator's (GVO) Licence advertisement
- Application to carry on the trade/ business of the holder of a GVO licence
- Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing – Financial Statement Statutory Declaration
- GV(NI)72 - Application to transfer a Goods Vehicle Operating Centre - Schedule …